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tv   [untitled]    March 2, 2012 2:30pm-3:00pm EST

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that we remain mindful of the cost benefit analysis, when issuing a final 316-b rule to make sure that we are not imposing undue cost. costs that will harm customers by raising energy prices. so, i again, madam administrator i urge you to work with industry and in the end, your agency finalizes a rule that makes sense and fair to all the relevant stakeholders, especially the human stakeholders first and foremost. i think you understand what i mean. madam administrator, one increase in this year's request that i would like for you to
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discuss during the remainder of my time is your community action for renewed environment, the care program. this is very, very important and vital program has allowed the communities living in environmental hot spots to come together and address the dangers in their neighborhood. it's a small program. but it makes a real big difference. a small program that carries a big punch. unfortunately, last year the appropriators defunded the program and i'm glad to see that the epa is working to continue this vital program and has
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included it in this year's request. can you explain briefly what the care program is and who benefits and what will the communities be able to do with the $2.5 million? >> thank you, mr. rush. the community action are small grants and they go to community organizations to assist them in activities such as monitoring, community education and awareness, assistance. much of the environmental protection now is individual protection. actions that individuals take to either understand threats to their environment or to change their own actions and so they have gone to a variety of groups. but they're pretty small grants and they go to community groups around environmental issues. >> these grants to local community-based organizations, what has been the history, if you can, of your -- of the results of these programs? is there -- >> yes, sir, the community groups are extremely fond of
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them. i have been asked several times about why they're being zeroed out as you mentioned. they were zeroed out by the appropriators and so in this -- in this cycle we are attempting to put the money back in. we have had several examples of beautification projects that people undertake to address local environmental issues that can be things like training people to be aware of litter, which is still a persistent problem in many communities. it can mean understanding local issues whether it be a small business that may need some assistance to understand it's having an impact on the community. we have had lots of people come together on watershed issues. pharmaceutical collection days or hazardous waste collection days. and efforts to encourage businesses to separate waste in order to give -- i have one from marquette, michigan. it was a 2006 care level grant. earth keepers partnership included 140 congregations, 25 regional pharmacies, police departments, the indian community.
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dental offices and financial community. all coming together to protect their environment. >> great program. thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. >> the gentleman's time has expired. i thought you may grab my question when you were talking about the cooling tower issue, bobby. otherwise, we could work together on that. i'd like to recognize myself for five minutes ago. i have four i'm doing to try to rush through. it's very difficult as you know. but my colleague from georgia is in the front row and we were e-mailing over the weekend based upon the budget submission. so i represent rural america. he represents rural america. so in your spending guidance for
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the $212 million, it will distribute tech assistance. do you agree it does not include the prioritizing the funding that's most beneficial to small communities? >> i don't agree, sir, but i would have to -- >> yeah. it's a small amount. i know it -- if you would get back to us on that because the congressional intent was to make sure small communities would find the assistance most beneficial. we think that -- >> i actually have an answer. if you wouldn't -- >> okay. >> epa is not requesting funding for technical assistant because the agency believes that the states are best positioned to develop the technical assistant plans. the states are allowed to set 2% of the drinking water revolving fund and most are using that set aside. >> okay. well, we would -- we're going to follow up on this legislatively to implement a directive asking you to consider small water applicants to demonstrate the level support or -- and in small town rural america they don't have the ability of large
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municipal systems and money. so it's -- if we can work on that, i think mr. westmoreland would appreciate it. we'd like to talk about that. now, i want to go to the super fund clean-up speed and funding. there was a company added to the national priority list in my district and i visited it. they are lengthy delays. obviously, when something gets on, the clean-up list. can you tell me what percent do you spend on physical clean-up versus administrative cost? my point is this, that's something you can get back to me on. when we talk to the region headquarters i have been told numerous times we can clean this up rapidly when it's initially identified, but if it's delayed then it gets in through the whole system. then you have litigation. long, long terms and the cost
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benefit analysis of moving quicker versus later is great. let me move to the definition of solid waste issue. case law and state statute is pretty clear. do you agree that it applies to material thrown and abandoned? >> the rcra statute -- yeah, i believe that's part of the statute. >> do you believe that recyclable material is destined for reuse? >> although, the definition is subject to certain regulatory findings. >> that's where we're headed. since we agree case law and statute are clear, what specific authority do you have to change the definition of solid waste under rcra? >> we can't change any statutory definition. >> that's what i wanted. that's good.
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we can follow up with that. but we -- there is a fear that you are and it affects the recycling industry. the beneficial use section. let me -- i still have a minute and a half left. i want to get to rcra 2002, sub section b requires you to review all regulations all three years. you're about to be sued for failure to comply with this part of the law. do we really want an agency to go down a very costly path reviewing regulations based on arbitrary date that will be impossible to meet? so the question is in reviewing all reclations -- is reviewing all regulations every three years even feasible? i mean, you're going on your fourth year. in this third year, the end of the third, now your fourth year,
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have you been able to review all epa regulations? >> i think epa has a statutory regulation which we try to meet, but there are plenty of cases where we are not on -- >> yeah, it's actually not feasible. and then the other issue as we're trying to analyze all these, can you give me a cost projection of what it is just to try to evaluate all these regulations within a three-year time frame as statute requires? >> it is not without cost and resources. we're in the middle of the review that the president ordered to look for outdated regulations. >> so, yeah, i think that's an important point. so as we talk about this whether you want to work with us or not, i think it would be in both of our interests if we can design a system that identifies based upon science problems and then re-evaluate those rules versus just having an arbitrary three-year review process that we can never meet, that throws us in litigation for not meeting. and that could help -- it would
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help the administration trying to put aside things that we can do, and not try to accomplish all the stuff that we're never going to be able to do. i appreciate your time and with that, i yield back the balance of my time. chair now recognizes the chairman -- the vice chairman of my committee, mr. green, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. again, welcome, madam administrator. like all of us i have a lot of questions in the five minutes. my first question is first of all the sale of fraudulent bio diesel credits is affecting the motor fuel sector and the credits originally came from clean green fuels that epa had been investigating for over a year. it turned out the company was a share and cannot practice any bio diesel, but the problem it was an epa approved producer and it was listed in the automated transaction system and it looked legitimate. rather than treating the row finers, your agency decided to go after them with notice of violation in november of 2011. why did epa do after the good
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faith purchasers of these creditors in november of last year? >> well, mr. green, we understand the importance of the market, it is marketplace and it is important to the marketplace that there be valid credits and that those who are buying them as we say in our rules ensure that they're buying -- ensure they're buying valid credits. there is fraud that's potential in the system and although we enforce to look for opportunities to crack down on fraud, part of the system in this marketplace also requires that buyers beware and that they ensure that what they're buying that they make some effort to ensure they're not being subject to fraudulent -- >> well, obviously i think that the epa has them listed on the automated transaction system punishing the good faith purchasers maybe a little over
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the top instead of going after them. could epa have done a better job in presenting the fraud and protecting those company who are required to buy the credits in order to comply with the law? >> i think epa did its job in responding to a complaint. we went to the so-called producer of this biofuel. there was nothing there. one case there were two cases and one there was literally nothing there. and the other they had shut down all the equipment and were selling for fuel they weren't making. so epa did its job. it certainly notified those who had purchased.
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in order for the marketplace to be fair for those who doing the right thing, there has to be a penalty for those not doing the right thing and people need to ensure that what they're buying represents more than just a piece of paper. >> well, i agree we want to do that. but i want to make sure that we don't end up punishing folks who are trying to comply with the law based on the epa system. is epa considering changes to prevent similar instances from occurring, maybe more timely notice to the purchasers? >> sir, epa is limited enforcement resources are spread pretty thin. when we found out about the case we certainly went out and enforced about it, but our rules are very clear. it requires the buyer and the seller to engage in ensuring that what they're doing is actually not fraudulent, but real. real production of biofuels. it's important to the small producers and they have resources they can bring to bear as well. >> well, i know we have some large oil companies and large refiners, but again, in some cases they relied on the information from the epa. my next question is the president's budget for fy-13 includes the interagency study that the d.o.e. and epa are partnering on the examine environmental and health effects of hydraulic fracking. can you explain the purpose behind this study and how this is any different than what epa has been currently doing? >> certainly, mr. green, it's an expansion.
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right now, the epa is looking at the impact of hydraulic fracking on drinking water supplies. that's been independent reviewed as we're beginning it. this is additional money to work with our partner agencies as i said in the opening remarks to look at air quality, water quality and ecosystems impacts to ask the hard questions to ensure that fracking remains safe. >> i understand that the -- hopefully independent peer review will be incorporated. will it be stakeholder input to be incorporated? >> well, we're just beginning to scope that with our federal agencies and we have to wait for budget approval, but i think we would look to do a transparent and valid study and look for public input as well. >> i know you and i have
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discussed this in the past. would you agree there's no way we can the develop our vast natural gas resources without the use of hydrofracking? >> that's right. the natural gas resources that the country has are in shale rock and fracking is the way to release those resources that needs to be done safely and responsibly. but it would need to be done. >> i think we agree responsibly, but we still need the natural gas. mr. chairman, i don't know how much time i have, but one last question. not everything is cut in the budget. i said earlier this request included important programs like the electronic manifest system. and it's simply not as safe as it should be. administrator jackson what is's the purpose of the electronic manifest system? >> well, to move to paperless system it is easier for record retrieval and it's about $2 million in our budget. we think that it would be a giant step forward and mindful of the times we're in, sir. >> call to the system is $2 billion and did you receive that
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amount? i know i'm out of time. >> none, sir. >> okay. >> in '12 we did not. we're requesting it in '13. >> mr. chairman, i've run out of time. i know chairman shimkus and i talked about some of the things we can do with this. >> at this time i'd like to recognize the gentleman from texas, mr. barton, five minutes for questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam administrator, back in october, i think october the 12th you appeared before a hearing of this committee. i asked you a question about the number of credit cards that the epa and what the limits were and how much money was spent and what the criteria.
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we put that in a follow-up letter to your administration on november the 1st. we've still not gotten an answer. can you enlighten us on the status of that query and what the response is to it? >> i think you have your epa women mixed up. i think that was ms. bennett's hearing and we'll get you an answer as soon as we can. >> do you know where it is? do you know anything about it other than we haven't gotten any response at all? >> i know we're preparing a response and will be getting a response to you, sir. >> okay. you have been doing quite a bit of travel which is a good thing i think. i don't have a problem with administration officials traveling. but some of the locations seem a little bit -- i won't say puzzling, but interesting. you were recently down in brazil at a conference on urban sustainability. can you tell us what urban sustainability is.
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>> i accompanied the president of the united states when he visited brasilia to meet with the president, and there the two presidents decided to focus on sustainability issues in advance of the rio plus 20 conference which is a unconference to be held in brazil. urban sustainability is an issue facing rio de janeiro as they look at the gains that are coming in the next several years and as the large influx of people into cities in much of the developing world they asked us for information on what cities here are doing that help them to be green, to help them to save energy, to provide energy and water and waste for all those people who are moving in. we're working with the city of -- >> can you just -- >> they're doing innovative waste water work. >> can you tell us what that trip cost? >> not off the top of my head. >> can you tell us what your travel budget is?
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>> we can certainly get the information, sir. >> can you tell us who set your travel budget? >> our overall travel budget is down and has been decreased every year. i set our agency's budget by asking our folks to -- >> would you say your personal travel budget is several million a year, several hundred thousand a year? >> i don't know. we're happy to get you the numbers. >> you don't have any idea who set the budget? is it up to you? if you want to go somewhere -- >> well, i take credit for the reductions every year. >> i want to ask you about your nonprofit grants. we went to your website and some of them seem to be absolutely total sense. the air and waste management association, the american lung association. but some of them are a little bit puzzling. you've got 1,000 friends in iowa
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that you gave $30,000 to. in pennsylvania you gave 80 thousand dollars. the alabama people against a friends that you gave $85,000 to. the alabama people against an literate state got $75,000. but then we come to some that i'm very confused. the bible baptist church got $200,000. why would epa give money to a baptist bible church? for $200,000? >> why not, sir? how about camp kumbaya? your administration gave you 220,000 to camp kumbaya. can you tell me what that's a about? >> i'm happy to get you information on the small community grants. >> what's the environmental core
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mission of camp kumbaya? >> i don't personally know camp kumbaya, i have never been there. but i'm happy to get you information. >> how about art from scrap? >> art from scrap? >> art from scrap. you gave $18,000 to art from scrap. >> yes, sir. >> not you personally. but -- >> thank you. >> do you know what the nonprofit budget is for the epa? >> we give several grant programs. i am guessing but it is simply an uneducated guess, but many of these are under the community -- >> is it hundreds of millions, tens of millions? >> it's more than millions. it's probably several million because the care grant program in the past has been about $2 million to $2.5 million a year. it was zeroed out this year. we are not giving those grants. i can tell you that many communities -- >> i would be interested at least in what happened -- to why camp kumbaya? that seems to me to be a little
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bit difficult to justify. anyway, my time is expired, mr. chairman. >> thank you. at this time i recognize the gentleman from michigan, mr. dingal for questions. >> thank you for your courtesy. madam administrator, yes or no, i see that the president's fiscal year 201 3 request is $21 million less than year. are you confident that it can carry out without slowing down current efforts with this reduction in spending? yes or no. >> yes, but we cannot start any new clean-ups, sir. >> all right. so that may very well put you down. rather slow you down. and i'm referring to cuts here
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in both super fund in general and in enforcement. next question. i along with two of my colleagues from the great lakes region will request the maintain level funding for the great lakes res store inration initiative. i know you have been supportive in the past efforts in the great lakes. do you believe that level funding will adequately support great lake restoration and prevention and control efforts? please answer yes or no. >> yes. >> madam administrator, as you are aware the state of california's moving forward with the level three tail pipe emissions standards for carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. what is the status of epa's efforts regarding equivalent standards? >> epa is -- has undertaken a look at reducing the level of
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sulfur. those are the so called tier 3 standards. they are similar to california's in that rule making continues. we are working still in house on proposed rules. >> thank you. madam administrator, what is epa doing to ensure that american manufacturers, most specifically american auto manufacturers, will not have to worry about a patchwork of regulations on these requirements? >> sir, the national clean car standards which epa is proud to have partnered with the department of transportation on, give one national standards for vehicles for both fuel economy and green house gas emissions from now until the year 2025. we have been told over and over again that those reasonable common sense standards give automakers the ability to innovate, to move forward with a clear set of standards so that they can go about their business and grow manufacturing and we hope grow exports of their product. >> regarding the mercury and air
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toxic standards, if utilities need a one-year extension, they need to request it from their local permitting authorities. in my case, the department of environmental quality in the state of michigan. what assurances can you provide that epa will not override the permitting authority's decision to grant that one-year extension? >> well, first, i believe very strongly that state permitting agencies having run a permit agency myself are the front line and know their individual permitees best, and second, the president of the united states ordered an executive order for epa to give the additional year to be lenient and to work to ensure that states did it. it's still their ultimate authority to decide whether to give it, but epa is at no posed or poised to override the president's executive order. >> madam administrators,
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utilities in the state of michigan are concerned that they'll first have to be in violation of the mercury and air toxic standards before requesting a second-year waiver to comply with the new standards. is that the case? yes or no? >> no, it is not. but it does bear a little explanation, sir. >> you don't -- you don't mind if we are concerned. would you give us some more comment on this for the purposes of the record, if you please. >> yes, sir. the -- what we have asked the utilities to do and i believe they are doing is working with their public utility commissions and state regulators now to put forth their plans for their fleets on how they're going to comply with the standards. if in doing so they identify plans that need to go longer than the fourth year -- >> we have this concern. if not, what do the utilities in michigan or elsewhere need to do in order to get that second one-year extension?
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that's a matter of grave concern to our people. >> i think the earlier they can come forward and let us know they believe they're going to need that second year, not waiting until the end when they do face noncompliance, they can and we can work with the state to ensure that through an agreement they have additional time. they will have to show that they need the time and that there's no other power. but those are findings they need to make. >> now madam administrator, i understand the new source performance standards are currently being reviewed by omb. can you tell me if the standards will apply to modified sources? yes or no? >> sir, it's not a good idea for me to speculate on rules that are still in review. i would respectfully ask that we wait until those rules are out for public comment. they will go through full public comment. i can tell you that we have endeavored to be reasonable and
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to reflect the fact that technology is limited for existing sources. >> you can understand that our people have a great deal of concern on this matter. mr. chairman, thank you for your courtesy. >> thank you. this time, i recognize the gentleman from nebraska mr. terry for five minutes. >> thank you. madam administrator, i'm concerned about the efforts being undertaken at u.s. epa to supplant state regulators on a number of environmental issues particularly where states have been the sole regulators for decades. quite frankly, i'm proud of my folks in nebraska and i think they have done a fine job. since this is a budget hearing it strikes me as if the federal government were going to push the states aside so it can occupy the regulatory field in a way it never has. that you are going to need lots of new bodies in your regional offices and d.c. headquarters as well as lots of new budget authority to pay for these people and programs.
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so i'd appreciate if you'd state the first part of the question, the additional budget authority epa needs to increase its in-house expertise and expand its program attic and enforcement reach to carry out the authorities, especially as it relaelts to permitting, inspections, technical compliant assistance and regulatory enforcement. >> in fact, mr. terry, in general, the budget goes different direction. i used to run a state program and i have committed that while i'm here we're doing to increase grants to the states and the tribes so they can do permitting and enforcement. there's a net $113 million increase in what we call the state tribe categorical grants even in a tough budget year. it's one of the few places we're plussing up, air quality, water pollution, tribal grants, information management, computers and public water supply.


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